Bruce, whose side are well-placed in the playoff hunt after a second successive league win, insisted that they could have performed better in the North-East.
"We didn't play well, we played nowhere near well enough for how we've been playing," the manager told reporters. "We were sloppy and gave the ball away too cheaply.
"The first goal was always going to be the big deciding factor. We've won nine of the last eleven, and drew another one, and people are still above us. Fulham and Cardiff City are having a great run as well, so all to play for.
"[It's a] big game at the weekend, we've got Wolves all of a sudden. If we can turn them over, then we give ourselves a chance. If you're going to be successful you have to win away from home - eighteen months ago, we'd won twice in two-and-a-half years away from home. Thankfully at the minute it's going okay - we've not done anything yet, but we're okay."